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The 19th Hole Magazine
Photo by Dreanna Cole

Gear

The Beauty of Clubfitting

Simply put, “clubfitting” is the term given to the science of tailoring your golf equipment to your own swing.

Beauty of Clubfitting

Photo by Dreanna Cole

The golf season is upon us. Your golf game wasn’t in the best of shape last fall, and you’ve thought that it might not be your swing, that it just might be those clubs in your bag.

And so, the perpetual golfer’s dilemma resurfaces. Something has to give. Do you have your clubs adjusted, or do you need to run out and buy a new set of clubs? The answer to that perennial question is easier to find than you might think. Clubfitting is the one solution that can help every golfer. What’s suitable for Tiger and DJ can undoubtedly benefit the rest of us.

While anyone will benefit from clubfitting, it’s for the golfer who wants to optimize performance. Whether buying new clubs or merely adjusting the ones you have, your swing isn’t generic, and your golf clubs shouldn’t be either.

Imagine this. A small child of six is handed his father’s five iron. The child takes a mighty swing and can only barely manage to roll the ball off the tee. It is immediately apparent that the club doesn’t fit the child’s swing. You get the idea. Now, how about you? Whose clubs are you swinging? Were your clubs designed with your swing in mind? Or were they rolled off a mass assembly line?

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A simple afternoon spent analyzing your swing, and more importantly, what effect your particular swing has on the golf ball, will do wonders for your golf game.

Clubfitting, when performed correctly, does not take into account your age, height, gender, or how strong you are. Instead, clubfitting applies scientific measurements of your golf ball to determine the technical efficiency with which you advance the ball from point A to point B. This, after all, is the essence of golf.

Lady Golf Swing

Courtesy Falcons Fire

“At the heart of a genuinely useful clubfitting session is a machine called a “launch monitor.”

These high-tech gadgets were first made available to the average golfers over ten years ago and have since become commonplace in most pro shops.

Using a variety of analytical technology, launch monitors measure the movement of the golf ball just after the club has struck it. Some launch monitors use light sensors, some use high-speed cameras, and the latest versions use Doppler radar (yes, the same technology which is used to detect thunderstorms in the air) to detect certain important characteristics of a golf ball at the point of launch.

At the very least, an effective launch monitor measures the three fundamental elements in the golf ball’s flight.

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  • Launch speed – Speed at which the ball leaves the clubface (mph)
  • Launch Angle – Angle of flight from horizontal (degrees)
  • Spin Rate – Speed at which the ball spins after being struck (rpm)

With these three points of data, a clubfitter can accurately predict the flight of a golf ball and can pinpoint exactly why you slice and precisely why you always seem to be 10 yards behind your buddies off the tee.

Newer launch monitors, which employ Doppler radar technology, can even measure “carry distance” (the distance from the tee at which the ball lands) and “roll” (the distance the ball advances after initial landing).

Buyer beware! It is extremely important to note that many machines claim to measure all three basic characteristics of the golf ball. While launch speed and angle are relatively simple to detect, actual spin rate measurement can only be performed by the best of the bunch. Most machines cannot measure the spinning golf ball and can only “estimate” spin rate.

A fitting session that lacks spin rate data is often useless and incomplete at best. It is worth your time to do some research to find a clubfitter in your area equipped with a launch monitor that handles spin rate measurement. Be warned, they all say they can, but few can actually stand behind it.

The numerous data collected from measuring your golf ball (not your swing), will allow you to determine the answer to your club conundrum. New clubs, to buy or not to buy (and if buying, which ones to buy).

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Club Champion Fitting Studio

Courtesy Club Champion

Club Champion, a Golf Digest Top 100 fitter, considers itself the Ferrari of clubfitters. It offers Tour-quality fitting to produce longer, more accurate shots. Their approach is unbiased; no specific vendor is promoted. The only goal – find the best combination of components to lower a golfer’s scores. Club Champion’s unique coupling system combines any head and shaft together, so golfers hit the precise combination to be custom-built for them.

“With multiple fitting studio locations, Club Champion offers more than 35,000 hittable head and shaft combinations and some of the best-trained master fitters in the country.”

Putting off your club fitting session is only prolonging your pain and frustration on the golf course. Find a qualified clubfitter in your area and give your golf game the boost it deserves.

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